Challenge #1: IS Star Control Star Control without the Spathi?
Speaking personally, when thinking of what makes Star Control, Star Control, I cant help think of two things.
One, a compelling open-ended story with real time consequences for story choices or inaction and a great supporting cast of well fleshed out characters.
Secondly, a very well built universe full of space exploration and discovery were any star system can be your salvation or your undoing, built around a great 1v1 combat engine.
So can Star Control still be Star Control without the Aliens and lore we have become accustomed to? To anyone who is a long term fan of Star Control and knows the brand, I just don't think so. So much time has passed that those in the know of what Star Control was, have to many pre-conceived notions on what any Star Control sequel needs to be that the loss of the aliens and lore will make it to much to overcome. To those who play the new title and then discover the old ones, they might be able to see otherwise, as they will have entered without any pre-conceived notions.
Challenge #2: What IS Star Control?
As I eluded to earlier in what is quickly becoming my dissertation. Star Control is two things a great exploration game and resource management with a compelling open ended game leaving the player to prioritize the story as they see fit. Secondly, a killer 1v1 combat system that can be enjoyed separately from the main story, with amazing designed ships all with unique abilities.
Lastly the music, it just added another level to the game and on many levels was just as compelling as the Story. Especially giving every character not only a theme in the main game but a diddy in the 1v1 just helped each race maintain a level of individuality.
Challenge #3: Defining some core values
Of course I can beat a dead horse and say the core value of the utmost importance is that the game again have a compelling story with a great cast of characters. But to elaborate, one of the most fascinating aspects of what made Star Control 2 such an amazing story was that the game made you try and draw conclusions with several story lines, such as what truly happened to the Androsynth and Precursors as well as many others. This allowed the players to flesh out all the possibilities and as much as it may drive us crazy like poor old Science Officer Bukowski, it again added a layer of richness to the game.
Another core value that I would find hard to lose is the exploration, both on a galactic and a planetary level.
Challenge #4: Satisfying the super fans
Well in closing I think if you can create a game that is able to capture the essence of what Star Control 1 & 2 were while staying true to the basic mechanics of prior two games, I think you will be able to satisfy the majority and I applaud you for at least trying to do as much and being open to rabid fan base that we are.
What I think any fan does not want to see is a product that's only similarity is in title alone.
Again just my opinion but either way I am just glad that it is 2015, and I am getting to share and read other peoples opinions about a game that helped define my youth!